Today’s post by Tech Cocktail contributor Samantha Strauss (@SFSam22) is the first of a collection of interviews with some heavy-weight social media industry personalities with a goal to highlight the entrepreneur in all of us.
Are you on Twitter? If you’re reading Tech Cocktail, we’ll assume you are. Since you’re on Twitter we’ll also assume that you may have heard of and/or be one of the over 32,000 people who follows @CharityIdeas, aka Amy Neumann. As one of The Huffington Post’s Top 16 People on Twitter Who Inspire the World and Bit Rebels’ Twitter’s Top 75 Bad Ass Women, Amy is known by her followers as a constant source of engaging philanthropic content and enlightening tweets.
What her followers and the world might not know is that while Amy is a “Twitter celebrity,” she’s also an entrepreneur. After years in the corporate world working for companies such as AT&T and Yahoo in various marketing capacities, Amy launched the consulting firm Good Plus Tech in April of this year. Good Plus Tech, merged Amy’s two passions, technology and volunteering.
“Good Plus Tech does just what the name says,” Amy said. “Social good plus technology. We focus on cause marketing and social good branding for nonprofits and corporations, with an emphasis on social media….My long-term goal is to impact the global level of volunteering and donating, focusing on emerging philanthropy markets.”
Recently we had a chance to talk with Amy about how she got started and what her thoughts on entrepreneurship, social media (specifically Twitter), leadership and charity are. Here is what Amy had to say:
TC: What are the key attributes of a successful entrepreneur?
Amy: I’d answer this with an adage we’ve heard a million times but is so true: we are all entrepreneurs. We sell our ideas to clients, coworkers, board members, spouses, friends, audiences….Even if you aren’t running your own company, you’re still running your life, and you’re always in charge. No matter what, we all control how we treat people and ourselves.
TC: Is there a guiding principle that you wish you knew when you started that you know now?
Amy: “Just Do It”! Take risks. If you’re wrong, you learn faster than any other way possible. And the more often you try new things, the faster you find the ones you love and are meant to do.
TC: What would you say to a budding entrepreneur?
Amy: Network with positive, smart, giving people. Ask people who are where you want to be how they did it. Find a great mentor or two or three. Most successful people got that way by being honest, friendly, hard-working, and helpful and are happy to share ideas and insight.
TC: Why is social media important to you?
Amy: I’m a wildly curious person and lover of people, so social media is the perfect way to instantly connect with fascinating people and ideas all over the world. And without sites like Twitter to connect people with similar passions, how else would we happen upon them? Love it.
TC: What’s your key to building a great following on Twitter?
Amy: Keep in mind that Twitter is IRL – real people behind avatars (mostly). So the things that work well in person, adjusted to social media format, work well. Share interesting and useful things. Be helpful. Listen. Respond. Be friendly and courteous. Thank people. Introduce people you think would like each other. And be positive.
TC: Do you thank every person that RTs you? Why or Why not?
Amy: Whenever possible, I try to thank people, and I RT tons of interesting links and quotes as well. Share the wealth, I say! After awhile it can be hard to thank everyone all the time, but I do read and appreciate every tweet even if I don’t send a thanks or RT right away.
TC: What’s your Twitter mantra?
Amy: Share, learn, grow!
TC: Why is Charity important to you?
Amy: Helping others makes both sides happy. It’s a fundamental love of mine. Not everything is perfect for anyone all the time, so helping one another when it’s needed is important. It really does help the giver as much as the recipient.
TC: How do you recommend people include charity in their life? Should it be a daily goal? Weekly goal to help someone at least once?
Amy: Some easy ones first! Smile more. Be friendly to strangers. Give people the benefit of the doubt. And of course, there are great sites online for raising money, virtual volunteering, and spreading awareness, in addition to volunteering in person. Twitter and Facebook are immensely helpful for spreading awareness, so just talking about your favorite cause is helpful.
TC: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? How did this person impact your life?
Amy: My parents instilled a love of helping in me, and my father’s an entrepreneur. I have met countless people who’ve had an influence by being optimistic, unstoppable world-changers. And I adored Bill Gates and Warren Buffett long before they became the world’s largest philanthropists and created the Giving Challenge, which makes me admire them even more.
And For Some Extra Fun…
TC: If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Amy: Teleportation! I love, love, love traveling. The faster, the better!
TC: If you could meet anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Amy: Leonardo Da Vinci. He was fascinated by and insatiably curious about life, which led to his discovery of and creating new things across art, science, writing, math…you name it.
TC: What’s your favorite motivational quote/saying?
Amy: “I’m always doing things I can’t do. That’s how I get to do them.” ~ Pablo Picasso
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